Babysitter’s anti-work anthems
For the average visitor Victoria B.C. offers an idyllic retreat from the hustle and bustle of big-city living. Yet in stark opposition to this laid-back seaside vibe shambolic rock trio Babysitter has emerged from the province’s capital with a vengeance. Slashing through damn-the-man anthems that could spark a revolution frontman Kristian North guitarist Andy Vanier and drummer Renny McClure find fuel in frustration.
“We fucking hate our jobs!” North bellows. “Andy and I worked together at an auction house when we started this band and I’m still there. It’s brutal. It’s a weird double identity thing where I just meet the worst types of people and show jewelry to rich jerks. Andy picks me up in the van after work and I’ll light up a smoke take off my tie and it’s like we’re fucking Batman and Robin or something.”
This outlet to vent has prolific results with the band recording over 60 songs since forming in September 2010. These are collected on three self-released cassettes — Babysitter Tape I II and III ’natch — followed by Tape IV issued on Edmonton’s Totally Disconnected the Paul’s Car Cassingle on Halifax label Electric Voice and another self-released quickie Summer Gunna Luv Us Summer Gunna Hate Us But It Sher Feels Good Bein’ Hot . Up next: Tape V .
“We just hit a pocket” says North with a shrug. “We have a pretty strong belief in always recording everything. Andy has a home studio and we follow a ‘don’t-look-back’ philosophy. It’s a pretty big part of our ethos to keep going and not worry too much about how things turn out. We just put ’em out and move onto the next thing. I like to be productive and get depressed if we’re not doing anything. You start analyzing yourself as soon as you stop. When you’re moving you keep moving.”
This process of constant documentation follows in the footsteps of North’s favourite band The Fall. Yet unlike the impressionistic imagery of hip priest Mark E. Smith Babysitter’s lyrics are a direct portal into the day-to-day misadventures of a misfit raging calls to arms druggy slow jams and the occasional creature feature (demons witches grim reapers and sasquatches have all popped up).
“I write lyrics pretty directly I guess and it’s stuff we talk about every day” he says. “Sometimes I get into metaphors but it’s usually a direct stream of consciousness. Jobs and this city are both very influential. B.C. is a weird place and kind of feels like a police state sometimes. If you’re a long-haired kid people don’t seem to leave you alone the same way they do in the prairies. It’s a weird time everywhere though.”
The band will get to experience this firsthand on its cross-country “Whip It Across Canada” tour beginning this month. Smartly avoiding the unrealistic while focusing on the right reasons to get in the van they’re bringing the revolution coast-to-coast.
“Money-wise touring Canada seems like a losing venture so we’re approaching it with more of a road-trip mentality” North says. “There are good shows and good people in the places that count — that’s our motto. You hear about lots of bands going hard for a year and burning out because of expectations. If you can economically and efficiently do it yourself you won’t be disappointed by false promises.”